The events of the last two months have given me both pause and some time to think. I’m going to set down some things here, just in case someone might find them to be useful later.
I am glad I’m still alive after New Years. Get the 24 hour flu, sleep for 36, miss a couple of gabapentin doses, and you might wake up not quite dead, which is what happened to me. The first time I ever heard the words “mitral valve prolapse” were in late 2014. It’s not clear if this is genetic or a Lyme effect. Medication and exercise fixed having two thirds of the normal eject fraction and the obvious *tock* with every beat is gone.
I learned another medical phrase over the holiday – “paroxysmal atrial tachycardia”. Your heart gives up on beating, settles for aggressively fluttering, and blood pressure plummets. Mine was 81/62 half an hour after I literally dragged myself across my room to get something to control my heart rate in me.
I stopped fearing death a decade ago, got into the business of observing careful if it seemed to be creeping up on me, and this episode had a gleaming silver lining. “You’ve got PAT, that’s not a diagnosis, it’s a symptom, but one you can treat aggressively. Do you have magnesium at home?”
I admitted to keeping a bit of Doctor’s Best around the house, and seven weeks later I’ve settled into about 2.5x the daily recommended amount. Which has erased most of the post-Lyme stuff that’s dogged me for the last decade.
So I got the last flu shot Rite Aid had on my 23rd sobriety anniversary in mid-January, dodged the viral bullet, but caught the secondary infection that’s killing the weak. I don’t think I’m in that category, but this is week three of industrial strength decongestant/cough suppressant and it can end any time. So it goes.
Don’t imagine I’m at death’s door, or that I’m not grateful for California’s fine medical care system. I’ve got the cutest little half moon of laparoscopy scars from breast bone to pubic bone, well healed after eighteen months. Who knew having 1300ccs of fluid crowding my right kidney would cause all sorts of weird side effects? I guess there are worse things than being polycystic, but that surgery really should have been in 2014, not delayed till 2016.
A caution for the person who has just wandered in here. There is a precedent setting 1st Amendment case in Texas with my name on it – Rauhauser v. McGibney, and that’s just one vignette in what has been years of conflict with the Breitbart operation and their associates. What follows is what I’m willing to admit to publicly, that which does not expose methods and sources.
I more or less wrote a road novel about my adventures in 2008, which remains on DailyKos, but I’ve scrubbed the 600 photos that go with that 110,000 word road novel. Since then the Unintentional Cascades have continued, but conflict has muddied the trail. It’s been glorious, the places I’ve been, the things I’ve seen, the people I’ve met.
There was only one minor on the Nixon White House enemies list – and here we are, clowning around outside Chicago’s union station in August of 2009. I had no idea what I was getting into when I agreed to share a sleeper car to Pittsburg with this guy.
There are other photos like this – if you take the time to look you might find ones of me talking with Chuck Grassley, or R. James Woolsey, or T. Boone Pickens. The one I’ve misplaced and which I’d truly like to get back is of Vince Bugliosi and I chatting in Naomi Wolf’s living room.
Time and space started to bend the year after that, as I became disinterested in people knowing where I was, who I was with, or what we were doing. I ran the streets of lower Manhattan during the fall of 2011 and spring of 2012, spending just as much time haunting MacPherson in D.C. Occupy Wall Street was a magical time … but it was the lip of what’s proved to be an endless rabbit hole.
There isn’t a lot of signal after that – a visit to a notary public in Urbana on St. Patrick’s Day in 2014, a string of photos in Manhattan Beach Thanksgiving of 2015, a public transit ticket from late September of 2017, somewhere in San Mateo county.
There are a few other things that will likely linger long after I am gone. The Neal Rauhauser LinkedIn profile is mine, the nealr Tumblr, the nealr Vimeo. I have admitted my role in the founding of the Conspiracy Brokers but you shouldn’t believe a word of what is on the other side of that link, let alone anything anyone else has to say – it was built to do this. I burned the rest of my social media on the 1st of February and I see no reason it’ll ever return.
The name of my Flickr account, avyakata, is a Pali word that means “question of an unanswered (or unanswerable) nature”. If you still have unanswered questions, those who can prove they have legitimate access to that account are the ones who can best answer them.